If you believe the Honda CBR 250 Forums, Big Red is set to drop some 500cc machines at INTERMOT/EICMA later this year. Expected to be lower-spec models built in the company’s Thailand factory, the 2013 Honda CBR500 & 2013 Honda CB500 are interesting offerings that fall in between matrix of the Honda CBR250R, Honda CBR600RR, Honda CB1000R, and Honda NC700S.
It is not clear what market Honda intends to drop these models in, though we are having a hard time seeing either the Honda CBR500 in North America, but both bikes do represent an added stepping-stone in Honda’s model lineup for new riders. One thing is clear, manufacturers like Honda are starting to question the previously proscribed displacement categories with their new models.
Looking at both bikes, it is clear that Honda is channeling heavily from its common parts bin. The CBR500 is very CBR600RR-esque in its appearance, though looks decidedly less aggressive. This is an interesting departure from the Honda CBR250R which just looks very sport in its diminutive package.
The styling cues seem are reminiscent of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the previous generation Kawasaki Ninja 250. The styling move is surely to keep the Honda CBR500 off the toes of the venerable Honda CBR600RR, but also creates an interesting question of whom Honda sees buying this motorcycle.
The rumored 2013 Honda CB500(R?) makes a bit more sense in Honda’s lineup. With the Japanese manufacturer already offering the Honda CB1000R on a variety of continents, a half-sized version makes perfect sense. More road-oriented than the Honda NC700X, and fitted better for newer riders than the Honda CB1000R, the Honda CB500 seems more likely to make it to US soil, though Honda has never shied away from interesting category-crossover choices in North America.